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Hummingbird party in Costa Rica… whose Latin names are these and why?

Once again American Ornithological Society supplement is out (here) and once again we are looking at what is new for Costa Rica, the country from where Lifer Nature Tours lead operations and hundreds of worldwide birders keep their updated life lists. So if you are one of those, you might like to read below about what is new with the 2020 AOS supplement.

The changes are quite simple for Costa Rican listers IF you only follow common English names but if you also enjoy Latin names, it becomes a bit more interesting:

ONLY TWO ENGLISH NAME CHANGED (here is where you need to get a pen and write a little side note in your bird book)

1- The new English name for Checker-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) changes to Checker-throated Stipplethroat. The South American Classification Committee has changed the English names of all species in the genus Epinecrophylla from "Something" Antwren to the "Something" Stipplethroat. The rationale for this is complicated and derives largely from the problem created by multiple species splits in the genus that created severe English name problems.

This proposal went through three iterative modifications – like they said "a lot of work for something so trivial", but there was no easy way to avoid this, and the rationale was that as long as a change was needed, it was worth the effort to have the best outcome.

So basically they decided to make a change because "it has to be done" to fit what is happening in South America with these antwrens. Anyway Stipplethroat is a very cool name and I think we all should be happy to have our only "Epinecrophylla" to get adapted to their kind.

2- The Paltry Tyrannulet changes to Mistletoe Tyrannulet (Zimmerius parvus).

This popular and generally common species occurs in several separate populations that correspond to recognized subspecies but these populations required additional taxonomic recognition. So, although the proposal was more "aggressive" and included several splits, they ended up basically splitting the species into just two species for now: Guatemalan Tyrannulet in northern Central America and our new Mistletoe Tyrannulet. With a range of most of northern Honduras, eastern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and a small part of Colombia bordering Panama.

The Mistletoe Tyrannulet (Zimmerius parvus) is common in gardens and forest edges, this one was taken in Arenal Volcano area by Juan Diego Vargas

Mistletoe Tyrannulet

If you, like us, enjoy the luxury of Latin names and want to invest some time understanding them, there are a few very interesting changes you might enjoy.